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Competition: New Academic Building, Portsmouth university

Portsmouth image by lewis clarke
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The RIBA has launched a contest to design a £60 million landmark building at the University of Portsmouth

The winning multidisciplinary team will deliver a new 20,000m2 combined departmental complex featuring new premises for the university’s Faculty of Business and Law and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences along with a public ‘destination dining experience’ and administrative facilities.

The New Academic Building project, planned to complete in 2023, will create a gateway structure on a large undeveloped plot (pictured) on Anglesea Road next to Portsmouth’s Grade II-listed Victoria Park, which is part of a local conservation area. 

In its brief, the university says: ‘The New Academic Building is intended to serve as a northern gateway to the University’s city centre campus and will bring together the Faculty of Business and Law with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in one building.

‘As well as providing accommodation for academic research and teaching and learning, it is anticipated that the New Academic Building will also provide student support services, general administrative space and potentially a destination dining experience that would be open to members of the general public.’

Portsmouth university was founded in 1908, expanded rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century and now has 25,000 students and 2,500 staff. Its annual income is around £200 million.

In 2017, Architecture PLB drew up a £400 million masterplan to transform the university over the following 15-20 years. The New Academic Building is a key part of the masterplan and aims to create a new gateway to the city centre campus from the north.

Architecture PLB won planning permission for a 33-storey student accommodation tower on the plot – previously home to a Victorian baths – in 2011 but the scheme was shelved the following year.

The new building – expected to be BREEAM Outstanding – will feature an auditorium, two lecture theatres, several classrooms, 50 tutorial rooms, two IT labs, and a 500-capacity restaurant.

First-round judges will include Fiona Bell director of estates and campus at the University of Portsmouth and Cindy Walters, director of Walters & Cohen Architects, who will be acting as RIBA architect adviser.

Five teams will be invited to draw up conceptual proposals during the latest competition’s second stage. A £20,000 honorarium will be awarded to all finalists submitting tenders. Around £7 million has been set aside for professional fees on the project.

The deadline for applications is midday, 4 July.


How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

RIBA Competitions
No 1 Aire Street
Leeds
LS1 4PR

Tel: 0113 203 1490
Email: riba.competitions@riba.org 

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